Scion vs MINI, Forbes Takes off the Gloves

Forbes drives the ’05 Cooper and does the unthinkable – compares it to a Scion…

What’s remarkable about this is that the Scion was supposed to have a slow rollout, but clearly the brand has taken off faster than anybody, especially market watchers, expected. But we’re also stunned by how a generation that spurns traditional marketing (hello, TiVo!) has eaten up the Scion with a big gravy spoon. Drive a Scion into a lot, and the teens swarm, especially the xB. Really, it’s happened to this reviewer.

And we have only one response to that: “Sheep!” …That’s right, we’re calling the kids out for what they are, a bunch of babies who don’t know when the marketing whizzes have them right in their dirty little mitts.

And what, pray tell, does all this have to do with the absolutely fun, fast, fuel-sipping, $16,449 Mini Cooper we drove recently? We think a heck of a lot. See, the Mini, although it costs about $3,500 more than the Scion xA, and about $2,000 more than the $13,680 Scion xB, is a way better car by nearly every measure. Style? It has that in spades. Handling? It will run rings around a Scion xA or xB

…Our point is that this is the “kids’ car” the kids don’t see, because BMW’s Mini (yes, BMW owns the brand) hasn’t targeted the kids, and apparently the kids don’t see what the marketers don’t tell them to see. What do we see? Perhaps the best sports car value in history. And oh, by the way, if you drove one back-to-back against a Scion xA or xB, and you were 19, you’d never step back into a Scion ever again.

I think to most of us this kind of thinking is pretty obvious however, I’m sure it’ll send shock-waves through xB owners everywhere. You know the ones who paint not only their front brake calipers red but their rear drums as well

You can read the entire article here.

  • michael Boice

    Gabe,

    I thought the article pretty much favored the Mini. That every kid on the block isn't rushing to install neon lights under the chassis is a good thing. Heritage is lost on most young folk anyway. My 16 year old daughter thinks the Scion – the boxy one – very ugly. She cannot wait to be seen in the S-Works – on the boat as we speak.

  • Tim in MD

    Interesting article, and I agree about the marketing. Frankly, though, I don't want the kids–and by kids I mean the idiots with fart-cannon exhausts on their beat-up Civics, Talons and Integras–knowing about the MINI. I believe the relative lack of interest from the Fast/Furious crowd is why my insurance rates for my Cooper S are way less than what I paid on my milquetoast 2003 Golf with the base 115hp four. If the MINI is a relatively well-kept secret, let's keep it that way…

  • RB

    I used to get swarmed by all ages but generally by younger folks and some X Mini owners from the earlier days.

    Not as much lately which suits me fine.

    Keeping the car secret? Idiots? Fart Cannon Exhuasts? Wow that's pretty tough stuff!

    So much for the, to each his own philosophy.

    …RB

  • Deborah

    MINI could run circles around the xB with one cylinder tied behind the boot… Hehe Most kids seem to know what my MINI is, but since they have little driving experience cars seem to be all about looks. MINI has looks too, but they are no longer new. Once the kids grow up a lot and figure out what's under the bonnet that counts most, I'm guessing they'll start trading up…

  • GSKChicago

    The comparison is both quasi-valid as well as comical in my opinion. No real comparison I think. Clearly the MINI is the better car, better value and better drive. Let's keep track of re-sale values too. In 5 years, you will be able to trade the MINI and buy two Scions with the cash (although, who would do such a thing?). In 5 years, trade one Scion and maybe buy a moped. :o) I am picking up my MINI tomorrow. FINALLY! So then, I will have true, real world experience and can let all the dis-believers I'm coming across, drive her and see how truly amazing she really is. :o)

  • Frank

    Excellent article. I applud Toyota for having the Cojones to bring to our shores such controversial looking vehicles (The xB) but I am sure that much of that decision was made based on MINI's success in the American market.

    I have seen the Scions up close and personal and they are interesting cars but they are about the stereo, the wheels, the discoteque inspired interior lighting and the edgy looks. Performance? Ha! that's a joke. Both Scions (xA and Xb) are based on the horrendous Toyota Echo platform which is the closest thing to a street legal Golf Kart.

    The only Scion model that may be able to directly compete with the MINI (Specially the MCS) is the more conventional looking Scion tC coupe.

    Still, I think both of my MINIs any day of the week over the cheap Toyota copycats.

  • http://www.teammightyminiz.com Doug

    Nice article, but I think it misses some points.

    The xB is what more of the kids are looking for. I mean, it's obviously unique and makes a statement. It's affordable, even on a community college budget. Not only kids are buying these. All ages of all incomes. It's a brand that affects everyone, pretty much like the MINI.

    The marketing for the SCION was undoubtable, genius. Where as the Marketing for MINI was nearly as genius. I know this will throw up some fire, but look at the sales. Scion Succeeded, spent less, made more. Their product is solid and their consumers are happy.

    The aftermarket is wide and vast for the Scion. Part costs are about half as much as adding a few silly trinkets on a MINI. You can buy Turbo's and Superchargers for the Scions… Some even carry a factory warranty! And lets not forget Japanese reliability. ( This too should spark it up a bit unfortunately )

    The Scion is so affordable and quite stylish, I don't even see why there's a discussion of it between the MINI.

    Many MINI owners have even either considered or even bought a SCION. I have a very close connection to the Scion Community. A great community that makes our MINI community , well… look MINI!

    Scions/MINI's – They're not for everyone.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Interesting point Doug. From my expeience it's a different group with different interests for the most parts. Granted the new Scion coupe will change that somewhat.

    It's also been interesting to see how many retirement age men and women I've seen in the xB in particular. Not that there's anything wrong with that in the least – it's just interesting to see different age groups take to cars despite marketing efforts that are meant to produce the opposite.

    I'm glad Scion is around but I think the market, in many ways, is a different one from what the MINI inhabits. It's one that requires new designs and more models at a quick pace to satisfy the trend customer. Of course that doesn't mean that MINI couldn't watch the success of Scion and learn some lessons… and Scion could do the same for that matter.

  • Frank

    Well you have to call things for what they are. The Scions are stylish and interesting econoboxes with great sounding Pioneer factory stereos. Without a doubt, the link to Toyota's quality reputation has helped but so does cheaper admission prices.

    The market audience for Scion and MINI is totally different. Scion is aimed at kids with limited budgets looking for an econobox that standsout from the crowd. The MINI buyer on the other hand (More affluent and educated) knows that the MINI is the REAL MCCOY and at such it is a driver's car that offers tons of handling and performance for the price of your everyday vanilla Toyota Corolla.

    Realiabilit? Well as an owner of 2 MINis both have been extremely reliable and sure both have been more solid than the plethora of Hondas and Acuras I owned for 12 years prior.

    Toyota clearly has an age demographics problem. What about the Celicas, Echos, Corollas, MR2 Sypders and Matrix that were supposed to be the cars “geared” towards the youth???

    I agree with the article. Any 19 year old kid that gets to drive a Scion and a MINI back to back, will never go back behind the wheel of the Scion no matter how many speakers, amplifiers, wheels and neon lights they can fit into it.

  • Lee Langston

    What is the marketing strategy for the Scions. I've only seen them in person and early reports from car magazines and Popular Mechanics. I've never seen an ad on TV (of course I do have TiVo) or any magazine ads that I can remember.

  • http://jacobswellchurch.org/todd Todd

    Ok, I have a somewhat objective point of view. I have a 2003 Cooper S and I recently (two months ago) purchased a 2005 Scion xB. I'm 36 and I didn't buy either vehicle because of its trendiness.

    You all know that the MINI is a wonderful car, gets good mileage, handles like a dream and, best of all, it has a soul. One truly falls in love with the MINI and in 13 months, the satisfaction curve has not dropped off one bit for me.

    The xB, on the other hand, has no soul. It's just a car. A really good, inexpensive car that has a remarkable amount of room and gets 30-35 MPG. Forget the looks and the trend-factor, at $14K it's a smart buy as a vehicle in general. Sure you can dress is up with a bunch of junk like LED lighting and tacky mufflers but mine is bone stock (except for the graphics, but that's what I do for a living) and it's going to stay that way. At 108hp the xB is no street machine. It's merely ample transportation from point A to B and that satisfies me.

    When I want to truly motor, there's no substitute for my MINI.

    The point reviewers are missing is that the $14K base price of an xB isn't even in the same league as a normally optioned MINI Cooper S. I paid nearly $26K for my Cooper S and I have no regrets. I have no regrets about the xB either.

  • netoperator

    The Scion looks like a shoe box. Makes my wife laugh.

  • elmor fudwel

    Good point Doug.

    Regarding the satisfaction meter: As was noted previously, dealer compentence has factored into my view of the MINI. Maybe it's not fair…

    It'll be interesting to see the resale value of the Scion going forward. Toyota seems to make good products, though I'd not trade out of a MINI for either, I don't think. Hmmm….

    Not wanting to trade up to a 3 series or stay in the BMW fold after my experience with the MINI, there's an open field out there that I'm exploring.

  • Josh

    I am a 17 year old and drive a Mini, so I guess I'm not part of the masses. I did find it hard to get my friends approval of the Mini when I initially told them that I had order one, but after just one drive, they were convinced.

    The Scion may be more flashy or trendy, but it’s really nothing more than an econo-box. If you strip down the Mini to its raw components, you find more or less a 3 series. If you strip down the Scion, you get an Echo. I think that shows the real difference between the cars.

    There is no doubt in my mind that only because of Mini's success, automakers are now bringing the Scions, Smart cars, Honda Fit and Jazz, Nissan Cube, Audi A3, and various others to our shores. I just wish BMW would follow suit and give us the 1 series and bring back the 318ti to America or the 320td.

  • SrBlanco

    Fart-cannon exhaust is by far the best term I have ever seen to describe those retarculous exhaust “systems”! Way to go Tim in MD!!

  • Vanwall

    I don't particularly care for the whole Scion thing – distinctive in a bland, even ugly, way is no statement of taste, unless it's bad. Cheap aftermarket dress-ups only makes a weak attempt at making a silk purse out of a sow's ear….or other part. It can only be riced, 'cause you can't make it handle without monstrous dollar input for value.

    I haven't seen any long-term quality numbers, or, more importantly, long-term financial shake-out numbers from aiming at a market that historically can't sustain the payments for long periods without a fair amount of repos on the back end. This burned Mitsubishi more than once, and now look at 'em. I'm glad MINI did NOT go this route, and prefer a niche that is a little up-market.

    They really are apples and oranges, so I'm glad Forbes has so eloquently pointed out without saying so that the Scion and SUV's have a similarity that is somewhat depressing – they are what the Manufacturers WANT to sell, rather than what an informed buyer might choose if given the chance – not a good sign.

  • Norms

    I actually drove the Scion XA and the new TC and the TC was a great car for the money at under 17k very nicely equipped. They are clearly buying marketshare for the amount of standard equipment and zoom that the 160+ hp TC has.

    I of course will get the Mini but Toyota did a very fine job with the TC.

    I also plan to drive the Golf V in a few weeks although I expect it to pale in comparison to the Mini.

    I may be ordering my Mini tomorrow if I have the time :)

  • allan MICHAEL

    Well…. i was considering getting a TC, xA, and even the xB earlier…. huh….. then i came to my senses!!!!!!

    EB/EB is in NJ — soon to be at my dealer!

    allan

  • Evan

    Why bother comparing a marketing conceived Toyota (bottom basement Toyota at that) to a MINI?

    The xA and xB are a fad. And ugly. The quality is Toyota but so is the numb steering and underpowered hump of an engine. The tC is alright, but it's basically the Celica Toyota should have produced…

    When I went to get a car, I wanted smiles and style. What I found was a MINI. The best thing ever. Solid, and timeless. I'll never get rid of this one…although I will be getting another when the time comes.

    If you consider a Scion, then the MINI's true purpose has been lost on you. Very different cars from very different worlds.

  • http://www.teammightyminiz.com Doug

    To each their own… Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    The TC can and will handle as good as a MINI after s few suspension tweaks. It's a fast car and is only going to be faster. The TRD SC option will pump it from a stock 160hp to over 200hp. Then add some pulley upgrades and it's a rocket. It's a very comfortable car and the price is great. A reliable toyota based (Camry) engine in a smaller lighter sportier vehicle, will draw many many many tuners and people in general towards it.

    I find it silly to dis the Scion. It's a GREAT line and will only get better.

    It would be great to get the perspective from a Scion Enthusiast. I will guide one here for his point of view.

    On another note, TeammightyMiniZ has an xB in the group and that thing can keep up with the Canyon Carvers in SoCal. So to say the 105hp (stock) is weak… it depends on how you use it.

    It's a unique vehicle that MOST MINI Owners know NOTHING about. Providing them with one sided opinions.

  • pete

    tim- i recently raced a talon with a fart cannon exhaust in my cooper s works, he indeed like, most idiots who are about to lose, hit his nitrous oxide, unfortunately for him, i just heard it trip, but all i saw was smoke come out of his fart cannon exhaust, must have blown a picton or sumthing, i dont know. and thats juat a stock 200 horsepower cooper s, i was smoking him the whole way, and took him all the way to the next red light. i guess he didnt want to be ashamed, so he ended the race, and the closest little street before the red light- wuss

  • http://www.donttrustthisguy.com Jim Jeffers

    I'm 20 and I was considering the Scion tC or the Cooper S.. the tC wins on price but just seems like a boring car. I still favor the Cooper S and that's what I'm setting aside my one year saving budget for :)

    Scion's first two cars are absolute crap. Most of my friends make fun of them, especially the xB(ox). The tC however doesn't look like total crap and has decent looks, but it doesn't have that cool/fun factor.

    I'm not the type of guy that would ever drive a car with a fart cannon either so I guess my peers and I are the exception to the rule.

    • Jim

    P.S. I currently drive a 1984 Porsche 944 when I'm not riding my Suzuki SV650S :)

  • pete

    haha, okay, this may be a little bit off topic, but i cant even count how many hot young girls ive seen in coopers. and how many fat ugly chicks ive seen in scions, sorry, but its the truth, if you want cute, buy a mini, if you want horribly grotesque and disfigured, buy a scion, hey, dosent hurt me at all

  • Frank

    The Scion tC is actually based on the European market Toyota Avensis platform (Their smaller Camry equivalent) and hence it is a much better platform than the Xa and Xb models which are based on the (Gasp!) Echo/Yaris chassis.

    There is no doubt that you can transform a 108HP stock Xa or Xb into a Canyon Carver machine but with money and the right mods you can also turn a Yugo into a twisties device.

    Don't get me wrong, I think the whole Scion thing is interesting but I think Toyota has chosen to totally neglect in the USA some of their supposedly “Young image” cars such as the Celica, MR2 (dead after 2005), Matrix, Corolla and Echo.

    To each thier own. I still think the MINI is a superior vehicle to the Scions in every aspect of the equation and the only one that can stand up on the MINI's merits is the tC coupe (Minus styling because let's be honest here the tC coupe has nothing groundbraking about it in terms of design or style, ok?).

    Here in my neck of the woods the xB is very popular followed on a distant second place by the Xa. So far I have only seen one tC coupe and while nicer looking than a Corolla or Camry it has nothing overly special about it..it gets lost in the crowd like all the other Civics of the world.

  • pete

    oh yeah, i sat in a scion xa and xb(ox) at the la auto show, the shifters feel like crap, very clunky, and the interior smells like burnt plastic opposed to the mini's genuine leather. :-)

  • Frank

    The Scion tC is a heavier car than the MCS (2970 pounds vs 2678 in the MCS)has a longer wheelbase and its overall length is way longer than the MINI (The longer the wheelbase the better the ride, duh!).

    160HP from a 2.4L 4 cyl engine is nice but not impressive. That car with a bolted supercharger should be making at least 250HP. The MINI with a 1.6L Supercharged engine already produces 160HP, 200HP with the Cooper Works kit and soon around 220HP+ with the Stage II JCW upgrade. This is from an engine that is much more smaller, lighter and less complex than the tC's.

    Again the tC is a nice car with much performance potential, but right out of the box is not impressive, heavier and perhaps with not the same razor sharp handling, stability and dynamics of the MCS not to mention looks and resale value.

    Sorry, Scions might be selling like hot cakes but the truth is that NONE of them can touch the MINI when it comes to resale value residuals.

  • RB

    Hey Dewds…

    This whole thing has gotten way beyond stupid with the lame comments and 18 year old bench racing and language.

    I'm outta here!!!

    …RB

  • http://users.adelphia.net/~rocketboy/index.html Rocketboy

    The article is quite harsh. Needlessy so. I actually like the xB, it's similar to the small boxy van-ish type vehicle that's all over the Japanese roads. Would I trade my MINI for one? Not on your life. But as I've said before on my blog, that if we lived in some alternate universe where the MINI never came stateside, I'd have a blog about a xB, and not a MINI.

    (And no, I don't have a fart pipe or neons, nor would I if I had an xB. And keep in mind, that the fart pipe and neon crouds also buys MINIs.)

  • Frank

    Last year during the local autoshow here, I sat down in a xA and Xb. Couldn't help but think that I was behind the wheel of very nicely appointed golf cart with neon lights and good sounding stereos.

    MINIs and Scions are like water and oil…both may look similar and may be priced almost in the same ballpark but they are extremely different cars tuned to very different market demographics.

    The last few xB's I have seen were driven by older men with the windows down and stereo blasting…I think the Scion is the ultimate equivalent to Viagra in 4 wheels…LOL!

  • Frank

    Hey Doug, just curious…Do you work for Scion?

  • Frank

    Hey RB instead of leaving don't you think it would be better to offer some constructive criticism of the topic at hand instead?

    Believe it or not, your comments are appreciated around here even if we all find ourselves in agreement or not.

  • RB

    OK, I like the SC, wouldn't buy one but it's got nice looks, that's about it.

    Frank, sorry but this is why…

    Infantile testosterone bench racing and talk bores me! Why does it always have to get personal, it's just BORING?

    But thanks for the thoughts.

    Caio…RB

  • pete

    the stock tc exhaust does sound like a fart cannon, compared to the growl of my john cooper works, and i do agree, if toyota was smart, that tc would have well over 200 horsepower, but lets not give them any ideas, and even if they did, id still smoke one just for the fun of it

  • http://www.teammightyminiz.com Doug

    Do I work for Scion? If they're paying, I'm workin!

    No Checks yet tho… so alas, no I do not work for Scion Or MINI.

    The TRD tC Exhaust sounds nice, dunno what the big deal is. It's MINI “Elite-ism” and it's absurd.

    As stated, the SC on the tC will boost it well over 200hp a few mods on top of that and it's pushing 300. Let's not forget the absolute tunability of a toyota. It's Twin Turbo friendly.

    I'm tired of the MINI Eliteists here. I own a MINI, but I would not call it the End all machine. It's a hunk of metal and plastic, some glass, rubber and liquids.

    It's just a car. They're all just cars.

    Let's put a lid on this.

  • Patrick Masterson

    Why the grumbling over Scion? Though the cars appeal to different segments of the small car market, Scion validates the very existance of MINI.

    Scion answers the very question that MINI purports to ask:

    If MINI is a premium small car, WHAT is it a premium over?

    Well, MINI's clearly a premium car over the Scions… til a Tc can be had with Nav, leather, heated seats and Xenons…

    Small cars have a VERY tough time making a market case in this country. The Scions are fundamentally decent cars, and TOYOTA has always known that raw decency can hit home.

    It's good for Americans to see that very small cars can be a valid choice for different kinds of people… those who prefer Scions and those who prefer MINI's.

    What we don't want is a small car market filled with poorly designed, joyless penalty boxes.

    As they say, it's all good.

  • http://leftthis.com Dillon

    When I meet a Scion owner,I usually ask them what was their reasons for buying that vechicle? Usually the answer is that I can own a new,solid,funky-looking car without going to the poorhouse. I,of course,own a MINI;yet,I have to say,that's the only point that Scion has over MINI.

  • Glassintrepid

    I have yet to see anyone under the age of 40 driving one of these cars(No offense). I mean WHAT were they thinking! Of coarse this is just my opinion, but none of my friends like them, AT ALL!

  • http://fedward.org fedward

    I looked at the xA and xB. They're not awful, but they are underpowered if you do much highway driving.

    Where they compete directly with the MINI is in overall size, and that's a factor if you park on the street. If all you want is something to scoot around town, and high performance isn't as important as cargo capacity, the Scion's a great deal. It's also cheap enough that if you want to personalize it with interior, exterior, or performance details, you can do all of that for less than just about everything else out there. And it has a back seat you can fit two adults in. And you can still squeeze it into parking spots other drivers will have to pass.

    If you're looking for performance either right from the moment you drive it off the lot, or in maximum terms, the MINI wins. But an MCS with JCW and other options can top $30K — enough to buy two Scions. It's the better car, but it's arguably not twice the car. That's a value choice that any buyer will make on his or her own.

    I know that I personally would opt for the MCS Works, but I seriously considered the Scion too. It's a decent car, but it's not the car I'd want.

  • http://www.scionlife.com Darren

    I am the founder and owner of the largest Scion enthusiast site on the planet and also a very fond admirer of the Mini. Although my garage is full of all sorts of cars, at this time none of them wear the Mini or the Scion badge. (I own four cars outright and don't need a car payment AGAIN!)

    My thoughts on the article? Well, we have to admit that both Scions AND Minis have been marketed very well. In fact, the marketing programs for these two cars have impressed me more than any others in recent memory. Mini marketing has constantly surprised me, especially the imaginitive magazine ads. Are people buying just because they see the marketing? Maybe a few, but I think that the ads just open eyes, people still make up their own mind. The median Scion buyer is MUCH older than Toyota hoped for.

    The cars? Well, I don't have much experience with the Mini, but I know that small cars handle better and you can't get much smaller than the Mini. It sure doesn't hurt to have BMW designing the thing, either. Add the “S” model's supercharger and I can't imagine ever wanting to get out… except to take a stretch!

    The xB, on the other hand, is truly not a performance car. It is an econobox in every sense of the word… but it is an econobox with thoughtful style and unique looks. It is loaded and to just say the price is reasonable is an understatement. I would want BOTH of these cars in my driveway. (the garage is full, remember?)

    I would drive the Mini on the weekends though the twisty scenic highways of the Columbia River Gorge, and the xB would be my errand car when I need to load large boxes to ship and pick up friends at the airport. Spend the $3500 difference on a supercharger for the xB and let's re-evaluate!

    Darren

  • Peter

    see i dont get it, if scion was really aiming for the rice rocket croud, why make a train car? seriously, how aerodynamic is a refridgerator with wheels? ive seen a young kid in one the other day, looked like a punk, also too much headroom isnt a good thing, you look like an ant in a huge car. i cant describe all the scions with few words -piece of crap i just want to square off a gainst a modded out tc just to see what the fuss is all about. ive taken a carrera at a light thanks to my jcw gearbox tally ho!

  • pete

    *can, whoopsie, my mistake

  • pete

    spend the extra 3500 bucks to add a supercharger to an xb, and it will still handle like a refridgerator with wheels, spend the extra thousand get the handling, cant buy the styling, althoguh you could spend 1500 bucks for a body kit, which may i add will look like crap, you might as well just buy a mini s that outperforms the scion in every aspect then buy the scion, seriously, who wants to drive a fridge? hey, they should come out with the cold package! the backseat will be replaced with shelfs, and it will come stock with some dryer's ice cream schweeet, although id still prefer to buy a new refridgerator.

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Good points Darren – thanks for posting.

  • NATE

    MINI VS SCION? THESE ARE TWO DIFFERENT AUTOMOBILES, GUYS AND GIRLS. IN MY HUMBLE OPINION THERE IS NO COMPARING THE TWO.

  • http://www.teammightyminiz.com Doug

    Is it just me or is Pete a little too gung ho?
    Pete, cool your JCW exhaust there buddy. We know you're enthused and excited.

    My opinion on the article is this. The writer was looking to provoke two enthusiast groups, create a stir, charge emotions. It worked. With that came successful debates and discussions which equal links and hits. Good Job.

    I'd love to have an xB, tC, MCS in my stable along with my MC. So what. Pete, wanna race?

  • pete

    let's go, ill race a scion anytime, anywhere. scions and nothin, ive beaten 350z's

  • pete

    hey doug, nice site you got there, im joining as soon as i can. but unfortunately, i thought you had a scion, ive driven an mc with the turbo kit, nice, but too throaty, and dosent ride as well, i dont only have the jcw though, ive got about another 15 thousand in upgrades. suspension, sway bars(not really needed) new radiator, oversized intercooler, jcw brakes, brake lines,and a whole lot more,ill race you, when, and where though? i need to get a day off from work

  • Art

    In my eyes, both cars are impressive in their own ways, and as I've read in my little mini booklet, you dont need a Mini to motor, and I thought the main purpose of sites like this were to discuss motoring in minis and learn more about them, but as of late I've seen more and more “bashing” on one group or another (to the extreme in the rear tail light comments, good call to close that one Gabe) and that's not the spirit of motoring. I for one think both the Scion and the Mini are great cars with even better marketing, I woudln't mind having either. I dont have a mini, or a scion, but I motor in my yellow 1984 Volvo wagon (all beatled out with dylwsub plates :-)), and Im more proud of that than taking a hopped up mini or scion and talking down to a group of people that dont share my point of view. (btw, any cement trucks out there, I think I might be able to beat one of those in a race… maybe ;-))

  • http://www.motoringfile.com/ Gabe

    Well said Art.

  • Mike

    Personally, I'm just happy that car companies are coming out with interesting designs again. Maybe some of the younger crowd missed out on the sadness that was the '80s and '90s. Nothing intersting under the sun. The MINI made me smile again, the way I used to smile seeing Mini's and VW Things (Safari's) and 356 Speedsters and Fiat 500's, etc, etc, etc… I love my MCS. I have a ball driving it. But when I first saw a Scion I immediately thought of my 1964 VW Bus. You want to talk about underpowered! Uphill the best I could do was to leave my foot on the floor and wave apologies to the drivers behind me. Get this: I loved that bus, and if it hadn't been so much of a tinker-mobile I would still drive it happily. I seriously enjoy the handling and acceleration of my MINI, but what some of you are missing is the fact that a vehicle doesn't have to be made for the race track in order to be a helluva lot of fun. I can pretty much guarantee that if I were 19 right now I would be pining for an MCS, but since $3000 would be an awful lot for me I would end up buying the Scion and be totally happy with it. My suspicion is that the reason the buyers are older than Toyota expected is that there are a lot of people like me who were wondering why there was nothing simple and utilitarian and funky. Any wonder I smiled when I saw the Honda Element? Welcome back, cars built for real people living in real cities, who don't go mountain climbing or extreme tobagganing or whatever the SUVs are aimed at. I don't drive on race tracks and I don't drive through mud bogs. I drive to work and back every day, and I'd like to have just one more reason to smile while I'm doing it. The Scion and the MINI are just two of the recent vehicles that have done just that.

  • meanboy

    I have a mcs and my coworker has a xB. It's funky but it has a lot of good qualities. One thing I don't understand is why the xA and xB do not have cruise control available.

    As far as putting on a SC on a xB and running it against a MCS..well, it's gonna take more then that to get it to go. But it's your money..if you chose to do that more power to you.

  • sardonicus

    I had an 02 s for two years and loved the car….I traded it in on a xB. I don't love the xB but for a everyday driver it's a lot better than my teeth shaking,run flat riding, S. No it will win no races, or looks contest but it can hold two child safety seats, luggage and still get 35 mpg. These two cars are VERY DIFFERENT and in no way similar so why waste time comparing them?

  • pete

    the mini cooper holds 2 child safety seats, can carry luggage and get 35 mpg depending on how your driving, and it looks a whole lot better

  • http://www.teammightyminiz.com Doug

    The xb can hold 3 child safety seats, carry luggage and a cooler. I believe it too can get the great gas milage, pending driver…. and the it's looks … eye of the beholder.

  • Pud

    Personally, as a 16 year old, i liked the xb when i first heard about it, the new look was my deciding opinion. My parents and i had been looking at cars at that point and we decided to test drive the xb (this before we test drove a mc) It was not that great. 😛 i pee on it now. lol. We then went and drove the mini. now i am hooked and my mc is on order. I don't think that the marketing for the mini is not geared to the youth, but i know that most of my friends are in love with the car.

    pud

  • pete

    noice. have fun with that mini kid, be careful though. as you may have read, my first run with my mcs, i clocked in at 70 down my street. hope none of the neighbors saw it 😛 haha, what color did you get?damn, i wish i had a mini when i was 16. oh yeah. i did, my old 64' i loved that car :-)

  • http://www.dominationthevideo.com Crush

    My gf is the proud owner of a 2002 mini cooper, and she wouldn't trade it for the world. With that said, I personally like the xB, the xA, and the MINI.

    If I had to choose a car it would matter what exactly I was looking. If you need a car to get your groceries and to hold your kids and what not an xB is a great choice. And at 14-16k doesn't break your wallet. But if you want to enjoy every drive, handle like a go cart and look good doing it, then a mini is the car to have.

    Bottom line i'm going to echo what a lot of people have already said. Different Markets – Different Cars.

    I could easily see a person owning both cars. xB or xA for everyday bump and grind. Mini for fun times on the weekends.

  • pete

    see, to me, the scion XA or XB is like the pair of nasty old nike tennis shoes you wear for PE in high school, and the cooper or cooper s are the nice pair of nikes you wear to look good in front of the ladies

  • Jody

    I own the xb and fell in love with it a year ago. I've never even tested a mini but just by looking at them I would venture to guess my lanky daughter and my infant son my wife and I (I'm 6ft 4in) would have a very hard time fitting in one.
    I traded in my mitsubishi mirage for it have have never looked back. At my height bending down to put children in and out of the car gets old although I'm only 27 (dont look a day over 18). Performance wise I'm satisfied with the xb because it gets the job done. I just feel that any comparisons should be between the xA and the mini and of course the mini would win but the xB is in a completely different league which includes the honda element and the nissan cube (very rare in the states until 2007).

  • andrew

    As a scion tC owner, I think that forbes should have compared it to the tC. The tC is definitely a better looking car than the mini. and i think a better engine, on the basis of upgrading. No offensive to BMW as a brand, because they offer great cars, but the cooper is not the best deal on wheels. Scion definitely hit the nail on the head with this one.

  • common sense

    It's quite comical to see older guys impersonating youth. The 20 year old who refers to his “buds” as “peers” is laughable. Who are you trying to kid? As for an xB, the most vivid driver was a fat middle aged guy who seemed to hog over both seats at once. The scions arent targeted toward old people. The demographic of a Mini is 30-40 of which it has filled nicely. Fart pipe? Yes, genuine, what do you call Harleys? Anal tear cannon? That's what it sounds like to me. As much as I dont like hearing tuner exhausts, I hate Harley's even more. Then again, Harley's have a soul and can be excused right? Despite, it's hideous sounds. A scion is an econobox while a Mini has a soul? It's an idiotic statement that deserves no explanation.

    By the way, Minis are not advertised toward the youth. scions are (yes, scion is purposely spelled in lower case by the company). scions have outsold expectations. Why? Because, despite its intended demographic, even old people are buying scions. Numbers no one can deny.

    These comments posted here are a testament to the phrase, “old people don't get young people”. Youths arent buying the cars because they havent driven a Mini, it's about image, it's about customizing their cars, but mostly it's about being different from what your dad would drive.

  • Ravi

    To start with, Mini's rival is scion tc. noy scion xA, or xB. lookslike whoever wrote it doesnot even know about tc. Compare with tc. Result will be closer. Ofcourse, mini might win for handling. But scionhas value with it($2000 less than cooper s). Think twice before publishing something on web.

  • Anthony

    I am in a situation right now where i'm in between a scion tC and a mini. I've been in love with the mini for quite some time, but I am also a 22 yr old in college on a slim budget. Right now, Im leaning at the tC, based on the feature:price ratio. The mini is an extremely great car, but maintenance is also going to be more expensive on it, cuz its still a bmw. Indeed the mini drives better than the tC, but I dont know if that constitutes me struggling to work more hours to afford it. If i had the extra few grand, ya, i'd buy a mini, but right now, i want something reliable, cheap to maintain, but still has the pep and style to keep me happy. maybe 5 or 6 years down the line, I'll trade this in for a mini, but for now, its tC for me.

    oh yeah, I'm over 6 feet tall, so the tC gives me a couple extra inches 😉

  • rob

    There are thousands of dollars seperating these 2 vehicles. Why would anyone even compare the two is beyond me. May as well compare the new Suburban against the CRV, that's how retarted this is.

  • hayato

    i have been driving the tc for about two months now and some body has already hit and runned it 800 dollars worth of damage but thats another story. This car is very agile if you know how to keep the balance of a car through a turn the lift off oversteer is dangerouse for inexperienced drivers but i think to go auto crossing will be fun. the interior design is great i wish it came with leather option but i can get that through kat skin for about 1300. This car cannot be compared with the cooper s wich i have also drivin the cooper s is very elegant in design and keeping the retro look with the new. i loved the first ones and the new ones are as peppy. Sorry to tell all you mini lovers out there but the new one with out the supercharger is very poor for its price the stock scion 5 speed is very balanced in power in handling. Also there is a supercharger option out now for the tc from factory so this will give mini a run for there money. Also if you guys or gurls are weekend worriers on the scca circuit the parts for the scion that are trd and warranted through toyota are very inexpensive and easy to install. And for all you ricers out there is alot of room in the engine compartment to put down 10 grand worth of work and put rediculouse horse power out of the tc. i have a 5 speed tc white im 21 this car is as fun as the 1986 corolla gts

  • Oscar

    My only exposure to the Mini, besides seeing a few around town, was the mass marketing campaign that BMW displayed prior to and during its US launch. There's no arguing its (BMW or Mini) strong heritage, and its BMW management makes the car that much more appealing. Good reliability and owner satisfaction make it a very good buy.

    Being in the sub-30, male age demographic, I recently purchased a Scion tC. I was well-aware of the brand due to the very aggressive advertising campaign that Toyota produced, but that did not sway me to buy the car.

    I despise the “ricer” culture that, in my opinion, ruin otherwise decent cars like the tC, or the toaster-esque xB. It amuses me to read posts on “enthusiast” sites that question how a normally-aspirated TC would fare versus pavement pounders, like the Corvette Z06 (DUH). I also love the assortment of cheaply-made parts that you see in stores and on the web.

    I know that there are nicer, more expensive cars out there, and I'm know there are lots of cars that would put my tC to shame in a speed duel. My response is, who cares? I bought my tC because I am a fan of Toyota reliability, and I got a great bargain with my tC.

    Why is it that adults, who are supposed to set examples for young'uns have to reduce themselves to elementary levels by boasting that their car can “smoke” another car?

    Rock on with your bad self.

  • http://motoringfile.com Gabe

    Yeah I'm not sure either.

  • a6

    recently picked up a tC, but test drove a mini during the shopping process. while i love the mini performance, i'm not too wild about the body style. don't get me wrong, i respect a design that's willing to challenge the status quo, but it's just not my cup of tea (incidentally although i despise the body styles, i also respect the xB in this regard).

    it's really hard to say no to a tC … the price to feature ratio is hard to beat. while the stock tC might not whip around the corners as well as a mini, it's performance is nothing to scoff. the interior is fairly roomy and the overall interior design is impressive. although i'm not crazy about modding, the aftermarket parts world is going to explode around the tC. if that's you're thing, you'll have a lot to choose from 6 months down the road from now.

    in any case, just my input. i do believe as far as brand battles go, a tC to mini comparison is a bit more apple-to-apple than say, the xB. =]

  • http://www.gbmini.net/ Ian

    18′ rims! Wow 😉 As tall as a house …

  • Warren

    I just don’t get it. Why would you compare a Mini to an XB? I love both cars but understand that their dimensions, horsepowers, and features serve different audiences. It’s not necessary to affirm your decision in purchasing one by demeaning the other. One is faster than the other, one has more room than the other, one manuevers better than the other. So what? Drive both and drive away with the one that suits your needs, and let folks who think that their cars give them their personalities duke it out on the road.

  • Blueapple

    I agree. Drive what suits you the best.

  • mike

    The only conclusion I can draw by reading the comparison: the fact that Scion Xb is even compared to MINI is a testament of how successful Scion Xb is, considering the price difference of several thousand dollars.

  • George

    OK– I just read the whole email chain because I love the Mini but plan to buy an xA — and I’m 53. I can afford the Mini but I’m turned off by the $1,500 over-list price the dealer is changing in the Washington DC area — and the nearest dealer is 18 miles outside of Washington. After living in Europe for a couple of years, American-style cars seem grotesquely oversized to me. I’m looking for a small commuter car in which I don’t have to sit on the ground. My son loves his Accura RSX but I find the seating (legs sticking straight out) uncomfortable. The xA seats feel great — amazingly high for a compact car. I drove an xB too. I love the space but the car felt clunkly compared to the xA. And every time I look at the back I see a hearse. A real turnoff. Interestingly, my teenage daughters hate all these cars — Mini Cooper, xA, and xB. They say the looks suck. They want an SUV — preferably the Xtera, but they’d settle for a RAV4 or equivalent. I want an econocar that feels like a quality vehicle, and the xA fills the bill at a great price. Sure I’d rather have the Mini, but it requires premium gas on top of the price premium. I like a bargain.

  • Jacob

    im 16 right now and looking 4 a fast little car that i could fix up. im what most people would call a tuner kid right now i drive a Jeep wrangler and i hate it i have no idea why my parents wanted 2 get me it after i had talked about many different fast cars and no suv’s or offroaders. but ne way i was wondering what all of you would think a good car for me would be for when i get out of highschool in 2 years. i have been looking at a MCS and a Tc but im not sure if they are as fast as i want. i was thinking more along the lines of a Subaru Sti. yes the mini is fast but the parts are so expensive for them. as far as the Tc goes the styling is ok but im not sure if i could make it really GO if you know what i mean. so ne way i would just like some of your opinions on what kind of car i should pick.

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